In early May, crypto startup Wyre rented out three houses in Arizona for an offsite for its product and engineering teams. Executives arranged a tour of the Grand Canyon nearby and rented all-terrain vehicles to ride around the area, one person who attended told The Information.
There was good reason to celebrate: Weeks before, checkout startup Bolt announced it had inked a deal to buy Wyre for a whopping $1.5 billion. But the startup was burning through cash and had to rein in costs before the deal was set to close. Wyre laid off 20% of staff in June, a person familiar with the matter said.
Wyre, which helps people buy crypto using credit cards, faced stiff competition from rival startups like MoonPay. That pressure kept a lid on the fees Wyre could charge customers, two people said. Credit card fraud, in which criminals stole users’ payment information to buy crypto, added to the startup’s costs. And when the Bolt sale fell apart in September, Wyre had to scramble to find more funding.